KOCHI: Dissent in the UDF over a change of guard in the Kochi Corporation helped the LDF bag the town planning standing committee chairperson seat in the election to the post held on Thursday.
Two councillors from the 37-member ruling front voted in LDF’s favour in the poll, which was necessitated after Shiny Mathew stepped down from the post on the District Congress Committee’s directive as part of effecting a rejig in the civic body. The cross-voting helped LDF’s O P Sunil secure 35 votes to defeat UDF’s Delina Pinheiro, who bagged 33 votes. Delina, who was sure of her win, left the council hall after the results were declared with tears in her eyes.
Independent candidate Geetha Prabhakar, who is in the UDF camp, and Congress’ Jose Mary — both of whom were against a change of guard in the corporation and are strong supporters of Mayor Soumini Jain — voted for the LDF. The vote of Congress councillor David Parambithara became invalid. Congress councillor Jalajamani could not vote as she arrived late, while Congress’ Hamzakunju stayed away from voting citing health issues. The two BJP councillors also did not vote.
The corporation council has 73 members. One seat fell vacant after UDF’s TJ Vinodh, who was the deputy mayor, was elected Ernakulam MLA. Though Sunil won, LDF is likely to nominate Sunila Shelvan as the committee’s chairperson as the post is reserved for women.
Shiny had resigned from the town planning standing committee chairperson post to replace Soumini as Mayor as per an intra-party agreement. However, Soumini was not ready to resign. This intensified the factional feud within the party.
LDF council party secretary V P Chandran said the UDF, which headed seven standing committees out of eight in the council, was now left with just four. “It even lost control of the council. It would be better the council is disbanded,” he said.